New blasters for all of Nerf's lines were announced early this year- A new 'Hailfire' to helm the N-Strike Elite, the all mighty Pyragon was the new Vortex blaster, and the Dart Tag line received the Snapfire 8 to its ranks.
The Snapfire 8 has generated quite a bit of interest since it's announcement being a rather compact non-motorised-yet-semi-autofire blaster and to date has only really been seen in Singapore (do correct me if I'm wrong) Thanks to Ben 'Psyk' Koh of Nerf SG, we got our hands on one (ok two- I always order multiples) to put it to the test and see if it's all that it's cracked out to be...
The Snapfire 8 comes in a pretty small lightweight compact box- which makes sense given it's a pretty small lightweight compact blaster:) Standard Dart Tag branding all over the box with the dude in the official dart tag jersey and eyewear is pretty normal for the current Nerf Dart Tag series of gear.
Inside the box, it's the blaster, 8 dart tag darts and a manual. It's pretty easy to get out of the box too which is nice.
The Snapfire 8 follows similar design cues to the big daddy Swarmfire in that it's got that big whale looking front but then sort of slims out at the back, with a rather aggressive cut out part for your thumb that makes it sort of resemble those old Star Trek phasers.
It's quite comfortable to hold, and has a very long grip for big hands. I don't have big hands, but that's ok:D It's a lot smaller than I thought it'd be, but the fatness of the muzzle makes it impossible to easily holster/pocket, but there's no loops anywhere to clip it to your belt or anything.
It's shape actually looks almost... comical, like a Marvin the Martian style blaster; whereas Nerf's other lines seem to be looking quite tough and realistic in design, the Dart Tag blasters seem to really be wanting to go a different route, similar to sporting equipment, which is true to its general marketing message of Dart Tag being a new "action sport".
The Snapfire 8's selling point is it's a non battery powered semi automatic with two main settings- "speed" and "power". There is a dial at the bottom of the grip that you gradually rotate and that allows you to customise your desired setting depending on how you like to play.
What it basically is doing is increasing the resistance that fires the dart and in turn that of the trigger- if you want more power, the trigger is really stiff to pull back but allows for your darts to fire further, whereas the speed setting is much softer but you sacrifice the power and hence full range available.
It's kind of fiddly to do, and after a while you just set it once and leave it alone. To be honest I found I just wanted to leave it on the "Power" setting and just deal with the ridiculously stiff trigger.
Speaking of the trigger, it's a totally unique system I've yet to see before- you can see in the picture above it's in three parts that 'fold' into each other on the squeeze. With each pull, the trigger fires a dart and advances the barrel to the next chamber, with the dart leaving once the trigger has completely folded into the last piece. This does away with a cocking mechanism, and on full trigger pull, you can really hear the very dense "thunk/click/boing" sound of the dart firing. Or maybe it's my finger snapping:P
|Trigger is over double in length of ordinary trigger distance|
|You can see my finger barely makes it around the trigger.|
After a full 8 rounds fired, my finger wasn't very happy with me, and after reloading it several times, my hand in general basically told me where to go:P A friend of mine with very small girlie hands (being a girl) couldn't fire the Snapfire 8 on Power mode with one hand- she needed both and she basically handed it back to me and said 'I don't like it'. This is definitely NOT an ergonomically friendly blaster, and dual wielding them, while technically possible is not going to feel fun in your weaker hand. I'm sure with enough practice and training it'll be fine, but for me thus far..i'm with my friend on this one- it wasn't comfortable.
|Pulling the trigger isn't at all comfortable and cuts into your finger|
The difference between the speed and power settings was noticeable but wasn't THAT great in performances (but quite a bit in ergonomics) and I also found it quite inconsistent- sometimes you'd get a great shot out and others a tad more on the dribble side. The new improved Sharpshot better ranges from my test shots done to date. Because of the trigger mechanism is so stiff and requires it to be completely pulled to fire, you won't be able to pump out darts as rapid as a Barricade or Hailfire.
|All the way depressed. You can see how much grip is left for small hands.|
It's design makes it difficult to pocket or holster, and while I wanted to think I'd be dual wielding these pups in full John Woo style, in the end the erratic performances and awkwardness of the firing mechanism just left me thinking no- long time play makes my index fingers feel like they've been sawn in two. It's a novel idea and as always, if you can get one for cheap, sure do it, but I'm not sure it's going to be a game changer any time soon. I don't hate it; I just think it wasn't quite what I was expecting and perhaps my expectations were too high- happy to hear your thoughts on it if you've got one.
From what I know, only available in Singapore atm, and with shipping cost me around 40 bucks each so probably not quite worth it. I'd be waiting for a domestic release where it should be much cheaper.